Singing is good for you!
Someone gave us an old black and white film on dvd for Christmas called “Top Hat”, a musical from the 40’s starring the legendary dancing and singing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. We only got round to watching it recently and it was lovely (any nostalgic souls want to borrow it?), but what surprised me was how I knew all the tunes, and found myself knowing many of the words and singing along. I had never seen the film or musical before, but I suppose my early formative years were spent with a constant diet of radio listening, when families just used to sing along with all the musicals – and Vera Lynn, Sparky’s Magic Piano, The Laughing Policeman, and my very favourite Glenn Miller Band!
And then of course music kicked in with my hormones, as rock ‘n’ roll and Elvis Presley came across the airwaves, and the advent of pirate radio, and my love affair with my transister radio under the covers in the early hours of the morning – no earphones in those days. Listening and singing along to music seemed so very important to me in those otherwise rather unhappy days. In fact one of Jesus’ early touches of healing was to take me back to a time aged 14, when I felt unloved, rejected and disapproved of for who I was, and in my mind’s eye I saw Him walk over to my old record player, and put on a Bill Haley and the Comets old 78 record, saying how much He liked it, and enjoyed listening and being with me!
It’s probably one of the reasons why I love singing at our church services and meetings so much. Ella Fitzgerald, one of my all-time favourite singers said ‘The only thing better than singing is more singing,” something I would definitely endorse. As long ago as the late 1500’s, Cervantes, a Spanish novelist, apparently said “He who sings frightens away his ills,” Even John Harvey Kellogg, Mr Cornflakes himself, had this to add in 1931: “Singing promotes health, breathing, circulation and digestion.” And now of course we’ve got medical research to back us up, telling us of both the physical and psychological benefits of singing, especially when we do it corporately.
I’ve just read from a leading vocal coach, Helen Astrid, “It’s a great way to keep in shape because you are exercising your lungs and heart. Not only that, your body produces ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins, which rush around your body when you sing. It’s exactly the same when you eat a bar of chocolate. The good news with singing is that you don’t gain any calories! Not only can it increase lung capacity, it improves posture, clears respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness through greater oxygenation. It even tones the muscles of your stomach and back, that is if you’re singing correctly.” So it ‘s officially confirmed that singing is good for us, which probably explains the popularity of karaoke bars and parties, and the proliferation of choirs of every age, shape and size, with ever increasing competitions and programmes on TV, and several films – we even watched a French one last night called “The Chorus”!
I read a lovely description of Jesus the other day that He is Love that sings to us in a new key. Isn’t that stunning? We’re used to the idea of us singing to Him, but the thought of Jesus singing to us is an astonishing one isn’t it? His singing must be really, really good for us! We’re perhaps familiar with Zephaniah 3:17 “He will renew you with His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” or in another version “He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” But love that sings in a new key, a key never heard before, sung by the truest Lover of all! I think I’ll leave you there, whilst I give Him my imagination, my heart, and my mind to expand………..